Australian Cyber Security Centre Reveals Growing Toll of Cyber Crime in Latest Threat Report
Some citizens recently accused the authorities of folding their hands to watch cybercrime increase without any effort to place it under control. In a report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network, the monetary loss to online scammers in the country is around $300 million.
The latest report from the Australian Cyber Security Center hinted that more businesses are being robbed, held ransom, and shut down. As at May 2017, an average amount of $10,000 was paid out by 6% of the 6,000 businesses breached by cybercriminals.
Cybercrime is on higher level in Australia, and the percentage of fraud activities increase every year. Cybersecurity cases recorded by the Australian Cyber Security Center in 2016/2017 was 47,000, a 16% increase from the 2015/2016 recorded cases. It was reported that almost half of the recorded cases were online fraud.
Cybercriminals make money from breached data either by selling them on the Darknet market or forcing victims to pay out huge ransoms.
Dan Tehan, the Cyber Security Minister on Tuesday said to reporters and to the general public to protect their data. “Business is booming for cybercriminals and mums and dads, small business owners need to protect their data, money, and identities. The days of the cyber threat being deployed by a hooded computer geek in a basement are over. Sophisticated organized criminal networks are taking control and franchising their business model.”
He continued: “The ACSC has seen operators of cyber threat software and hardware selling their kits and easy-to-use applications to other operators or affiliates who may not have the technical skill to create the software from scratch.”
Cybercriminals have several hacking methods but the popular and the most commonly used is the phishing method. The phishing method makes use of fake emails or links appearing as genuine, meant to steal credentials of victims after clicking on them. People are therefore warned to be careful with the kind of links they click on their computer.
According to the Australian Cyber Security Center, a monetary loss of $20 million was recorded in business email compromises in 2016/2017. This was an increment of $8.6 million from 2015/2016.
The Australian authorities have attributed the rise of cybercrime in the country to the rise of cryptocurrencies.
According to Mr. Tehan, small businesses are the target of cybercriminals: “Small businesses, in particular, were targeted by themed phishing emails, which use common payment arrangements to steal money. They are using increasingly personalized techniques to trick their victims. They will then create a fake invoice that looks exactly like the original and change one thing: the bank account details.” He added: “The small business pays the invoice thinking it is going to the stationery supplier, for example.” According to him, “No one is any wiser until the stationery company calls chasing its unpaid invoice.”
In 2012, around 5.4 million Australians were victims of cyber attacks according to the Department of Defense. It was estimated that Australia loses $2 billion per annum to cybercrime. If no serious proactive measures are taken, the cybercrime will continue to increase as the number of devices connected to the internet is expected to increase to 50 billion by 2020.
AUSTRALIA EFFORTS TO BATTLE CYBERCRIME
In the beginning of the year, reporters investigated into the action taken by the authorities after victims report cybercrime cases. Most of the victims said that no one from the Federal police and the cybersecurity task force contacted them again.
However, the Australian government spent $230 million in the battle against cybercrime. In 2016, the government formulated a strategy to share information with the private sector concerning cyber threat. The strategy of information sharing was meant to help identify patterns and to analyze and predict cybercrime.
The government also strategized to spend $30.5 million to set up a Cyber Security Growth Centre. This was meant to support the companies and the innovations that seek to commercialize cybersecurity solutions for sale. Australia also created a cyber intelligence unit last year to monitor the Darknet.
Cybersecurity has been understood not to be the solely technological challenge but also, cultural challenge. Australia was once the second highest ranked country with cyber security capabilities in the Asia-pacific region, and they can attain that feat again when all other things are made equal.